Bureaucracy appears to be preventing the introduction of gas powered vehicles, MPs said on Tuesday, though some charged that vested interests were also to blame.
Fed up with the delays, the House Commerce Committee has decided to write to Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis asking him to set specific timeframes.
Propane-fuelled vehicles were expected to take to the roads in 2015. It was then pushed to the first quarter of this year but according to MPs that was highly unlikely as tasks like seconding staff from one ministry to another and issuing permits for stations apparently took forever.
“I think this is a mockery of the people to announce certain deadlines and not meet them,” House Commerce Committee chairman, ruling DISY MP Zaharias Zahariou said.
The MP conceded that he did not know how to beat the bureaucracy.
“A new Saint George is needed to kill the monster of bureaucracy,” he said.
The government pledged to introduce gas by the end of March this year. The state has already spent €300,000 in taxpayer money to train some 250 technicians who are doing nothing.
However, one of the main problems was the delay in seconding three inspectors, who would also have to be trained to inspect gas filling stations.
“The labour inspection department wants three more months to train them after they are hired,” Zahariou said. Best case scenario is they would be ready in three to four months, provided that no objections would be raised by their ministries and department heads.
There was also the chronic delays at the town-planning department, which took six months to issue a permit for a station in Paphos.
Main opposition AKEL said motorists should not expect gas-powered vehicles in the near future.
MP Costas Costa said the committee had asked the ministry to expedite procedures three weeks ago.
“Essentially nothing was done.”
“This forces us to wonder whether vested interests were behind this huge delay,” Costa said, appealing to the government to get on with it and introduce a cheaper, cleaner fuel that could also help cut the price of other fuels.
EDEK’s Giorgos Varnava was equally critical of the sorry state of affairs.
“Ten whole months for seconding three people, from another public service, who would be trained to inspect stations; this delay could possibly be hiding expediencies,” Varnava said.